Apple has filed for a patent (number US 20230277129 A1) for “Impact Detection Devices and Systems” that hints at future Apple Watches, AirPods, AirPods Pro, Apple Vision Pros and other devices that can detect, measure, and respond to a user’s fall.
Recent advances in portable computing have enabled wearable electronic devices capable of detecting when a user falls or experiences accelerations indicative of a fall or an impact. However, Apple says that the ability of a wearable electronic devices to detect such impact events is limited to the data that can be gathered by the device.
A wearable device such as an electronic watch, for example, can detect motion at the user’s wrist, but is generally limited to information at that location on the user’s body. The user can experience detrimental injuries resulting from falls or impacts, including injuries to the head or neck. Electronic devices that are normally worn by users lack the necessary components and functionalities necessary to accurately and confidently detect these falls and impact events.
Apple says there’s a need for systems, methods, and devices for accurately and confidently detecting when a user experiences an impact exceeding a threshold acceleration, event, or motion in a known, specific location. An impact detection system can include an earbud having a first motion sensor and a wearable electronic device in electrical communication with the earbud and comprising a second motion sensor electrically connected to a processor.
The processor can determine if a threshold event has occurred based on a first motion detected by the first motion sensor and a second motion detected by the second motion sensor. And, as with Apple’s current fall feature on the Apple Watch, help can be summoned in case a user falls and is injured.